Unequivocally cooler than a final exam, an end-of-semester assessment for
the fashion and photography BFA programs at Pratt Institute required neither
pen nor paper to complete. Sophomores and juniors who participated in the
competition were supplied with a pair of knitting needles and skeins of yarn,
which could be supplemented with other materials, and given this directive:
Rethink the form and function of knitwear as fine art. The best results would be
displayed first at the New York showroom of Ralph Pucci International, on its
Girl 2 cast-fiberglass mannequins.
“Organic Matter: Woven Artwear by Pratt Fashion” assembled 27 creations,
narrowed down from 90 entries. Jury members including Ralph Pucci himself,
a Pratt trustee, as well as Interior Design Hall of Fame member Vladimir Kagan
and Patrick Naggar, who sell furniture and lighting through Pucci, based their
decisions on scale, proportion, line, color, and texture. For each of the top three
winners, the payoff—more than a good grade—was a miniature mannequin.
After two weeks at the Pucci showroom, “Organic Matter” spent fashion week in the windows of
Macy’s, attracting hundreds of thousands of eyeballs. Next came an April trip to the original Neiman Marcus, in Dallas.
By Georgina McWhirter